Witch of Empire #2
Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumors of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse. Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that has taken a shine to her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides, and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of the war in one piece.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
How sweet of you to think that I go outside often enough to justify carrying a book with me. When I did have something resembling a life, I always had a yellowed paperback in my pocket, and a torch in case I was walking home after dark and couldn’t make out what was on the pages, but nowadays I tend to use my phone to catch up on my online research rather than a dedicated device.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
In terms of most genre fiction, I don’t think I’m believable as a heroic character. Bald, bearded, fat and queer are all villain-coded. The fact that I dare to be open about my intelligence along with all those things adds insult to injury; the superhero is strong, the villain is smart, that is the rule, no?
Also, a lot of my life-stories do tend to have a little bit of a mad scientist origin story vibe; like that one time I built a giant electromagnet that dragged stools across the room, melted and blew all the fuses in the school science department.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
Everywhere around the house. I’ve got a perch on the counter by the kitchen window. The sofa I sleep on and my little office desk. Not to mention the throne of all serious readers in the bathroom. You know it is time to get back to work when your leg falls asleep.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Where can you find fish when they’re not swimming? I was going to say that I do other things with my time too, but honestly, I usually have something to read sitting open beside me regardless. When I’m watching television, it is with the eternal presence of Wikipedia at my fingertips. When I’m cooking – one of my other great passions – I am usually reading through recipe books or food writing for inspiration. You just can’t get away from reading once it has its hooks in you.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
I wish that I could. Even when it is a chain bookstore that I know without a doubt isn’t going to contain anything except the bestsellers list of airport books, I still end up wandering around trying to find something that tickles my fancy. I think I’ve probably spent more on books than I have rent through the years.
6. What are you most proud of?
I mean, I’m a critically acclaimed, best-selling author. Those are both pretty good for the old ego. I’m sure I’m meant to say I’m proud of my kids or something but honestly I’m quietly convinced I’m screwing them up more and more every day.
Oh wait! I know. That one star review on a book I ghost-wrote that said “This isn’t true crime, it is erotica for serial killers!” That one keeps me warm at night.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
It is a strange thing to hold a book with my name on it, because it already belongs to somebody else. Publishing is not an industry to get involved with if you want instant gratification, because from the time I first put an idea to paper to the time it finally sees print, it can be half a decade. I look at every book with my name on it, and they were written by someone in the past. I can see all the mistakes I
made, and that I can convince myself aren’t in the books that I’m writing now. I swear, I could spend my whole life going back and rewriting my old books to be up to my current standard, but then I’d never get to write anything new, and there isn’t enough time!
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Kick the stool out from under you and hope that you’ve learned to fly. There is no way to be a writer except to write. There is no way to get published without going through the mortifying ideal of being known. If you want it bad enough, do it.
Thank you, G.D. Penman and Meerkat Press
About the author
G.D. Penman is the author of the Strata Online and Witch of Empire series, the ghostwriter of more than 50 books, and a freelance game designer. A firm believer in the axiom that any story is made better with the addition of dragons, he is fulfilling his destiny as an overweight bearded white man by pursuing a career as a fantasy author. In “real life” he lives in Scotland with his partner, children, dog and cats. Just . . . so many cats.
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